Mass testing to be widened

Posted on May 15 2020

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. will be taking their community-based testing initiative into the community to test residents for COVID-19.

According to Esther Muna, CHCC chief executive officer, there is no fixed date yet on when it’s going to happen but CHCC will be going to specific areas to administer the test for the virus.

“We lost two lives, and this is very important for us to ensure that we don’t lose any more lives, and don’t lose families and [have them suffer] because of a lost life,” said Muña during a news briefing Wednesday at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan in Garapan.

Muña said that, as the virus continues to evolve, the idea is for CHCC and the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force to figure out what’s really in the community, which is significant because this will help CHCC conduct effective community surveillance. “How can we convince you all if we’re going to open up the community with restrictive measures if we don’t know what’s in the community?” she added, highlighting why it’s important to know if community transmission is happening.

The results of the community-based testing and the contact tracing being carried out by CHCC is what guides CHCC in what it can do and what can be recommended to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, Muña said.

“I thank everyone [the community] for their contribution, their patience, and understanding of the restrictions that the government has [imposed],” said Muña. “It is really going to protect everyone.”

She stated that it’s important to protect all businesses, employees, customers, and the community for the sake of everyone’s safety. “The testing capabilities and the adequate personal protective equipment to protect health care workers so that they can provide health care services to you is also significant,” said Muña.

She pointed out that it is not common for all jurisdictions to have the testing capabilities that the CNMI has, and that “we are very fortunate to be able to test the entire community and then some.”

She also applauded the CNMI public for its role in keeping the CNMI’s number of infections low. “We didn’t have to tell you what to do, you did it. …Pat yourself in the back for all the innovative ways you have put in place and it’s because you care, and we care too.”

Additionally, Muña stated that all precautionary measures, such as social distancing, proper hygiene, wearing a mask, etc., should still be followed until there is a vaccine.

More PPEs

Rep. Janet U. Maratita took to Facebook via a live video to announce that CHCC received another round of medical supplies, medical equipment and personal protective equipment that arrived at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport last Wednesday, May 13.

These include 30 ventilators, two portable X-ray machines, two portable ultrasound machines, 70 infusion pumps, and a huge supply of personal protective equipment for front-liners and medical workers.

To date, there are 19 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the CNMI, with two deaths, five active cases, and 12 recoveries.

COVID-19 on Guam

On May 12, 2020, the Joint Information Center reported one positive case of COVID-19 from the Guam Regional Medical City.

A confirmatory test was run on this sample by the Guam Public Health Laboratory, which returned as negative. According to the Joint Information Center in Guam, upon further assessment, the patient was not considered a probable case. All positive tests conducted at GRMC undergo confirmatory testing at GPHL.

To date, Guam has a total of 151 confirmed cases, with six deaths and 124 released from isolation.

As this is an evolving situation, information is subject to change with little to no notice.

Justine Nauta
Justine Nauta is Saipan Tribune's community and health reporter and has covered a wide range of news beats, including the Northern Marianas College and Commonwealth Health Care Corp. She's currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services at NMC.
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